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Continental adding injection presses at Mexico facility

By: Roger Renstrom

November 6, 2013

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, MEXICO — Continental AG's Ciudad Juárez operation is adding injection molding equipment.

The company has installed eight new robot-equipped Engel injection molding machines and plans to acquire 16 additional Engel presses.

Continental Juárez runs the new equipment in an 185,000-square-foot facility, a consolidation of three nearby operations including older molding machines.

The initial installations are completed, said Jesus Galvan, product group manager for the Ciudad Juárez molding area of Continental's fuel supply system division. Plans call for the division gradually placing the additional machines into service at two-to-three-month intervals beginning in early 2014.

Continental Juárez processes about 40,000 pounds of resin monthly, primarily using the engineering thermoplastic polyoxymethylene copolymer to annually mold more than 3 million automotive fuel modules and supporting pumps. Other annual production includes 9 million other custom-molded parts.

Continental Juárez invests about $5 million per year for capital equipment, has 950 employees including 38 in the molding area and administrative offices and is certified under ISO-TS 16949 and ISO 14000.

Hanover, Germany-based parent firm Continental also utilizes Engel systems in plants in Europe and Asia and has plans for a vertical integration project involving Engel injection molding machines in Salto, Brazil, northwest of São Paulo.

Continental Juárez will be able to use the Engel e-factory system, said Carlos Hidalgo, an account manager with the North American unit of Engel Austria GmbH. The e-factory 2 manufacturing execution system facilitates real-time production data acquisition.

The first phase of the Continental Juárez project involved two 440-ton, three 330-ton, and three 200-ton Victory series machines, each equipped with an Engel viper 12 linear robot with a 12-kg. (2.2-pound) nominal load-bearing capacity, an integrated conveyor and a guarding package. A single controller can run both the press and robot.